Panetta says he thinks bin Laden photo eventually will be released
Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda's leader, seen in an undated photo.
May 3rd, 2011
10:35 PM ET

Panetta says he thinks bin Laden photo eventually will be released

[Updated at 10:33 p.m.] Vice President Joe Biden commended the team responsible for taking down Osama bin Laden in a stealth operation that showed "there's no place you can hide" from the United States.

"It was a staggering undertaking and there was no one else, I believe, other than an American group of military warriors who could do it. And the world is a safer place today, not only for the American people but for all people," Biden said in a speech at the 2011 Atlantic Council Awards Dinner in Washington.

He also said he was a little surprised by the overwhelming global reaction and offered prayers to victims of terror worldwide.

"They remain in our thoughts and our prayers. But I think one clear message has gone out to the world - there’s no place to hide, no place you can hide. The United States decides, from one administration to the next, that we will in fact reach a goal, we are determined and we will relentlessly without any hesitation follow on that commitment. Democrat, Republican, it doesn’t matter."

[Updated at 7:08 p.m.] CIA Director Leon Panetta said Tuesday he thinks a photograph of Osama bin Laden's body will be released at some point, but that it is up to the White House to make the final call.

[Updated at 6:39 p.m.] A few U.S. congressional staffers who received a briefing Tuesday about the raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan were shown photos of bin Laden's body, a congressional source familiar with the briefing said, according to CNN congressional producer Deirdre Walsh.

One staffer who reviewed the photos suggested they might be too graphic for public release, according to the source.

U.S. officials are weighing whether to release an image of bin Laden's corpse.

[Updated at 6:18 p.m.] A widely distributed photo of a dead Osama bin Laden is fake. A photographer consulted by CNN said the gruesome photograph is most definitely not real, and the Guardian newspaper in Britain reported the picture is actually a combination of two photographs.

Meanwhile, U.S. officials are weighing whether to release an actual image of bin Laden's corpse.

"I'll be candid that there are sensitivities here in terms of the appropriateness of releasing photographs of Osama bin Laden in the aftermath of this firefight," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters Tuesday. "We're making an evaluation about the need to do that."

[Updated at 5:03 p.m.] U.S. commandos shot Osama bin Laden when he made a threatening move during the Americans' raid on his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, a U.S. official said, according to CNN's Pam Benson.

Earlier today, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said bin Laden was not armed when U.S. forces shot and killed him.

When Benson asked the first U.S. official whether bin Laden tried to grab a weapon or physically attack a commando, the official said only, "He didn't hold up his hands and surrender."

Recapping the five compound occupants who U.S. officials say were killed in the assault: Bin Laden; two al Qaeda couriers; one woman; and a son of bin Laden. A second woman - one of bin Laden's wives - was shot in the leg, but not killed, after she rushed the commandos, Carney said earlier today.

The woman who was killed was shot "in crossfire" on the first floor where the couriers were killed, and it's not clear whether anyone was using her as a human shield, Carney told reporters today.

The official who spoke to Benson said no other person - dead or alive - besides bin Laden was taken from the compound.

[Updated at 4:10 p.m.] The U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday praising intelligence and military officials for the operation that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden.

[Updated at 3:22 p.m.] A fuller account of the raid on Osama bin Laden's compound from White House Press Secretary Jay Carney: He said two teams of U.S. Navy SEALs cleared two buildings, one of which was a three-story building where bin Laden was living with another family. A third family lived in the second building, Carney said.

In bin Laden's building, three people were killed on the first floor, including two al Qaeda couriers and a woman "who was killed in crossfire," Carney said. Carney said it's unclear whether anyone used the woman as a human shield; U.S. officials previously said that a woman was used as such.

The U.S. team found bin Laden in a room with one of his wives on one of the upper floors, Carney said. Bin Laden's wife rushed the U.S. commandos, and was shot in leg but not killed, he said. Bin Laden resisted and was shot and killed, Carney said.

Carney said bin Laden wasn't armed. When asked Tuesday why the decision was made to shoot and kill bin Laden if he was not armed, Carney responded that "he resisted" and that the U.S. personnel "handled themselves with the utmost professionalism." He did not explain how bin Laden resisted.

On Monday, President Barack Obama's top counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, said bin Laden was resisting and had a weapon, though he added that it was unclear whether bin Laden had fired a shot.

[Updated at 2:50 p.m.] White House Press Secretary Jay Carney says that it's unclear whether anyone in Osama bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, used a woman as a human shield during the U.S. raid that killed bin Laden early Monday. One woman was among five compound occupants - including bin Laden - who were killed in the raid, U.S. officials have said.

A different woman who was shot in the leg - previously identified by U.S. officials as a wife of bin Laden - had tried to assault or charge the U.S. commandos, Carney said.

[Updated at 2:29 p.m.] White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday that the United States has a "complicated but important relationship" with Pakistan. Top administration officials have been in regular contact with the Pakistani government, he said.

"The idea that these kinds of complications exist is not new," he said.

"There has also been a great deal of important cooperation" in the fight against Islamic extremism, Carney said. He warned against "tarring" everyone in Pakistan's government because of the revelation that bin Laden had been living so close to Islamabad.

American officials need to learn more about the "support network" that allowed bin Laden to live there, he said.

[Posted at 2:27 p.m.] Osama bin Laden was not armed when he was shot and killed by U.S. forces in the assault on his compound in Pakistan, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday.

The al Qaeda leader resisted the assault on his compound, Carney said, adding: "I think resistance does not require a firearm."

Carney described how the U.S. Navy SEALs carrying out the operation went floor-to-floor clearing the three-story compound where bin Laden's family lived with another family.

Three people were killed on the first floor, including a woman, and then the U.S. forces moved upstairs where they found bin Laden, Carney said.

"Bin Laden was then shot and killed," Carney said. "He was not armed."

On Monday, President Barack Obama's top counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, said bin Laden was resisting and had a weapon, though it was unclear if bin Laden had fired a shot.

soundoff (930 Responses)
  1. Concered American

    My My how the story changes each day. In a week or two he probably won't even be dead. I pray everyday that this doesn't cause another almost 4000 people to die it seems like revenege started this whole thing in the beginning.

    May 3, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Rk

    "I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that"
    — Martin Luther King Jr.

    Give everyone their due credit and let the dead rest

    May 3, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Baraka

      MLK Jr. never said that. You have been mislead by internet fakers my friend. Try not to quote what others quote before you verify that the person actually said it.

      May 3, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • tim

      Here you go, RK:

      http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/05/out-of-osamas-death-a-fake-quotation-is-born/238220/

      May 3, 2011 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
  3. joe jones

    So much for the first image they portrayed of our Navy SEALS doing what no other military on the planet can do. The truth is that over 40 military personnel invaded a compound being protected by two couriers, two woman and a sick old, unarmed Osama.

    Not that Osama didn't deserve to die but what's the deal with the government lying to us?

    May 3, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cyberdog

      You forgot to mention that the "firefight" (with three or four presumably armed men) lasted 40 minutes... it took that long for 24 commandos to subdue the occupants of the house. Impressive.

      May 3, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Christian

      Cyberdog are you an expert on Navy SEAL covert warfare tactics?

      I admit I am not, however, considering it was a 3 story house, and taking precautions to virtually reduce any casualties whatsoever, in addition to securing all necessary intelligence materials..... 40 minutes seems very quick to me.

      May 3, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • tim

      Um, Cyberdog,

      As has already been pointed out to you, 40 mins to get in and get out is pretty impressive. Keep in mind that the operation consisted of more than just getting Osama. That only took a portion of the time. They also had to scour the compound for intelligence, gather it up and transport it out. And they also had to perform whatever post-mortem procedures were necessary with identifying Osama's body, something which included communicating with his surely mortified and possibly hysterical wife.

      Also keep in mind that this was a compound into which a million dollars was invested to protect the world's most wanted man. Who knows how complicated things got in such a place? Obama's bedroom could have even been designed as some sort of hard-to-penetrate panic/safe room.

      Of course, I don't know this. This is why I spoke in a conditional voice. But you know as just as little as I do. So the point is to not jump to conclusions–or do the opposite of jumping by staying fixed upon a single underdeveloped and lazy conclusion–as a means of reinforcing the half-baked narrative (24 v. 5 shooting it out in a tight corridor for 3/4 of an hour!) you already have in your head.

      May 3, 2011 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • tim

      Oh, yeah, let's not forget that whole other issue of dealing with a downed helicopter.

      Hell, cyberdog, I bet you could have been in and out of there in no time, gone in 60 seconds, with the aid of only a couple box cutters and a friend in a getaway Camaro waiting at the front gate.

      May 3, 2011 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cyberdog

      @tim: Thanks for your comments, but, according to military sources, the "firefight" lasted 40 minutes, so all additional activities to which you refer took longer, perhaps hours. The "compound" was in fact a house, not a fortress. SEALs had the advantage of surprise, cover of darkness and aerial assault, not to mention superior weapons and equipment. There were 24 commandos and, at most, three armed resisters. Not, in my view, an impressive display of military skills.

      May 3, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • tim

      Cyberdog,

      Let's do what intelligent, responsible and ethical people do when arguing their points: name their sources.

      Here's one of mine: http://edition.cnn.com/video/#/video/bestoftv/2011/05/02/exp.tsr.lawrence.obl.raid.cnn

      You can go ahead and fast forward to the three-minute mark.

      Keep in mind that the SEALs were in Pakistan illegally, and that they had no idea of what a Pakistani response to four foreign copters swooping in and performing such an operation would be. They had to get in and out. Quickly.

      May 3, 2011 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cyberdog

      @tim: Thanks for pointing out that "the SEALs were in Pakistan illegally". It wasn't the only illegal thing they did that night.

      May 3, 2011 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • tim

      Cyberdog, I see that you're involved in about fourteen different arguments here in this comments section, and I commend you for your obviously deft and dextrous multi-tasking, but you need to keep track of with whom and about what you're arguing. My point was that the operation was actually pretty impressive–all things considered (and it looks as though I was the only actually considering all, or at least more, things)–and then, after you disputed that, that entire ground operation, and not just the firefight, took 40 minutes. I provided my own argumentation, and then when I saw that that wasn't enough, I provided you with a link to an outside source.

      Your latest tangential, diversionary response to that didn't even bother to address my only point. You don't even know what my thoughts on the "morality" of all this are, or, by extension, what my thoughts on US foreign policy in general are, so there's no real force behind that glancing blow–you know, a tangential blow–you just delivered. For all you know, you may be preaching to the choir.

      Anyway, I'll leave it at that. Keep fighting the good fight here. Here's hoping you can see the windmills for windmills.

      May 3, 2011 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Donny

      Careful Joe, Cyberdog will put his hot air into words on you for being proud of our SEALs!!!

      May 3, 2011 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
  4. anti allah

    MORE WATER BOARDING PLEASE

    May 3, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  5. GaryP

    In the immortal words of Clint Eastwood as "William Munney" in "The Unforgiven", "Well, I guess he should've armed himself."

    May 3, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob Mc

      GaryP, excellent quote...William Muney was right on target. If someone is going to act the tough guy he better be ready to back it up.

      May 3, 2011 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Mike, Albany

    Even if bin Laden wasn't actually brandishing a gun, the seals could not have known whether or not he (1) had a concealed weapon that he might have been reaching for, or (2) he had explosives strapped to his body (after all, he certainly commanded others to use this tactic). Either way, the decision whether or not to use deadly force has to be made in a split second based on factors that these elite soldiers are trained to recognize. In terms of the intelligence bin Laden could have provided, it is not clear that anything from him would have been of much use at this point. Bin Laden is really only a figurehead at this point. Day to day operations are no longer under his control - keep in mind that his compound had no internet or telephone access, so clearly he was not exchanging information with too many other operatives, only what he could do via Couriers. I imagine the most useful information will come from people like KSM rather than bin Laden, particularly considering that Al Qaeda no longer functions as a hierarchical structure but rather as a fragmented horizontal outfit under local control.

    May 3, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cyberdog

      Excuses, excuses.

      May 3, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  7. arch

    All those people that died on 9/11 weren't armed either! The piece of paper obama signed was a straight forward "kill order". Our guys were told no captives. Find him and kill him...period! I have no problems with them doing what they did. It would be wise for the obama people not to lie about what actually happened. If they had doubts when this was going on they shouldn't have been watching the live feed. Once the contract was signed there was no going back. obama has to learn not to lie as much as he has been doing. It will catch up with him. If he were smart, which he isn't, he would sign about a thousand "kill orders" and let these dudes do their job. In a few months most of these freaks would be resting with their leader!

    May 3, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cyberdog

      Yeah, that's right... why worry about little details like international and military laws. Nothing wrong with murder, right?

      May 3, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Christian

      Please Cyberdog, inform us of the international and military laws you are referring to...

      May 3, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cyberdog

      @Christian: You're a big boy. Go look it up yourself. The Internet is great for that sort of thing, isn't it?!?

      May 3, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cyberdog

      See Uniform Code of Military Justice (Article 118), Geneva Convention, blah, blah, blah...

      May 3, 2011 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  8. charlie crack

    @done deal- great point! Dead is done deal, right? Forget more media "fear mongoring". Osaaama? You alive.....? Oh, DID THE BIG BAD USA SMOKE YOUR @SS?? Im sooo sorry!! Ha, i'll roast hot dogs on his @ss on his way to burn in hell!

    May 3, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Sandy

    Why don't people wake up and realize this plan has been in the works for years. Give credit where its due -to out military. Wake up and realize showing those pictures puts us on the same level with them.

    May 3, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cyberdog

      Pictures can be doctored...easily. The question is... do you trust your government?

      May 3, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Christian

      Apparently you do not Cyberdog (assuming you are an American). If so, back up your remarks, and leave this country if you are so unsatisfied with it, because your CNN comments aren't going to change anything.

      May 3, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cyberdog

      @Christian: Thankfully, I am not an American. If I were, I would have left the USA a long time ago.

      May 3, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Wake up Americans!

    seriously i dont think he is dead....y wud anyone kill an unarmed n most wanted terrorist without interrogating him and finding out more information and reduce terrorism...i dont trust obama anymore....enough of his crappy speeches...thats all he can do...

    May 3, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Linda

    I believe that all the military had a hand in finding Osama. We should be proud that we are being protected and that we have the ability to take control where needed. We are very lucky to not have had any further problems here in the US since 9/11. Our military whether it be Navy Seals, Army Navy, Air Force, National Guards and such should be highly commended for taking care of us. They have had to keep a lid on things happening where they are and all should be commended. I personally want to thank them, my son is presently serving in Afganistan and I am sure they hear and see things that most of us would never believe. So everyone quit putting down our country and support our troops and find a way to bring them all home safe!

    May 3, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Frank

    People of the United States of America,
    OH MY GOD! He was unarmed,are you kidding? I am glad he's dead but do not tell me we shot an unarmed OBL! Just as an example:If an LA or NYC SWAT TEAM shot and killed guilty murderer but unarmed Blackman serving an arrest warrant, can you image what Democrats like Al Sharpton,Jesse Jackson and one Barrack Obama would be saying to the Media.If this happened under GWB,he would be crucified by the Media for being a real Cowboy and being vigilante!

    May 3, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  13. charlie crack

    My brother is there 94th mountain division BSB. I think that all the speculators need to think about what you are saying and get a clue. These guys/women are the best, will remain hidden (my brother tells NO stories all the way back to Desert Storm). You are all ignorant rant mongors with no intent but to be uneducated and speculate. Osamas dead! Praise God and bless the USA!

    May 3, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Linda

      Thanks for serving, our son is serving also! All should be commended, they keep secrets and see loads of things we would never imagine.

      May 3, 2011 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Wake up Americans!

    no pics of dead bin laden...only a pic of obama n him men watching a video...y not show the video to the public too? n to get things worse...dump the body in the sea? well done obama...u proved that anyone can get corrupted after entering politics...

    May 3, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Bob Mc

    bin Laden wasen't armed..............neither were the close to 3,000 people he assasinated on 9/11

    May 3, 2011 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
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